Should Quality Matter?

Posted: May 23, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2

On the official forums, SOE’s new crafting system developer, Emily “Domino”
Taylor has directed the attention of tradeskillers everywhere to the subject of quality.  This isn’t the generic “quality” that all MMO developers discuss when talking about polish or software lifecycles.  No, this particular use of the term is quite specific:  Emily wants to talk about changing tradeskills again. It’s become a bit of a cliché in Everquest 2 to talk about changing tradeskills, really.  Oh sure, we can discuss combat revamps and zone changes, but to really dig up a dead horse, you’ve got to start talking about harvestables, pristines, and durability reactions.  

Now, this isn’t to say that I think this is a bad idea.  In actuality, I’m pretty excited about some of the ideas brought up.  At heart, I love tradeskilling.  I was a Grandmaster in several trades in the old Everquest, and lived for new recipes I could make.  I spent hours trying to discover new items or just helping out guildmates, and the majority of my fortune was made selling tradeskilled products and goods in the Bazaar.  I just never got into Everquest 2 tradeskilling as much. So what are the big ideas?  Domino is planning the next tier of tradeskills for Ruins of Kunark, and she’s trying to determine if the years’ old ideas regarding quality levels are still (A) relevant and (B) worth continuing.  In more simplistic terms, she’s wondering if we shouldn’t just do away with quality levels altogether (since most non-pristine level items are simply sold to vendors right away anyway) or if we should find ways to make quality levels matter more (such as increasing the amount of supplies required to make higher quality goods).  

Now, personally, I like the latter.  It makes more sense to me, and I’m a fan of things that make sense to me, all things being equal.  I like the idea that a crafter sitting down at a forge needs more gold for a higher quality ring than one of lower quality.  After all, isn’t that the basic idea behind 14K gold as opposed to 24K gold?  Is not some chocolate considered to be higher “quality” because it has more pure chocolate in it?  I know for a fact that not all coffee is equal and I go blocks out of my way each morning to buy my coffee that’s made from 100% Kona beans (as opposed to a 50% Kona “blend”).  Now, I’m not arguing that pristine goods should necessarily be made pricier than they currently are.  I am going to suggest that non-pristine goods be made cheaper, however.  Perhaps this could actually create a market for such items that doesn’t currently exist.  Honestly, does anyone actually buy Apprentice III spells anymore?  Who even looks at shaped armors?  After all, not everyone cares about premium gourmet coffee blends – some folks just want a cheap cup of Joe.  

It’s a lot of work, and in the past I’d have said it’s hardly worth the effort.  However, Emily Taylor’s a different breed of dev.  I had the pleasure of meeting her a couple years ago, and we’ve kept in contact since.  For those of you who don’t know, she’s come up through the ranks the hard way – player first and foremost.  She’s one of the little guys who made it big, and I think she’s got a chip on her shoulder just large enough to see this through to the end.    So the only question then becomes one of whether or not it’s the right thing to do.  I think so, but I’m not representative of the wild eyed, rabid tradeskilling community.  Whether they believe it or not, Everquest 2 tradeskillers are some of the most hardcore players that exist, vicious in their opinions on the subject of all things craftable.  You start toying with that particular subject, and you’ve got to deal with all sorts of emotional responses that may or may not have anything to do with the actual facts of the matter.

If anyone can understand that, it’d be Domino.  All the same, I wish her luck. 


  1. wilhelm2451 says:

    At one point in the history of crafting in EQ2, equipment of lower quality had lower level restrictions as well. For example, T3 pristine armor required level 20, but shaped only required level 17 and was still better than pristine T2 armor.

    Of course, that was also in the day when the stats on your equipment used to change as you levelled up, so I imagine that has been done away with as well. (I haven’t checked in ages, and I only ever make pristine.) But it might be an idea worth revisiting in the quality tier discussion.

    (And, off the topic at hand, the font-size changes in this post gave me a short Robert E. McElwaine flashback.)

  2. kendricke says:

    Didn’t notice the font changes. I’ve corrected it.

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